What is Talent Mapping and How to Map Talent

May 16, 2024

What id talent mapping and how to map talent?

Organisations are constantly evolving, and their workforce needs to keep pace. As organisations go global and broaden their prospects it becomes crucial that they understand and utilise their resources to the best of effectiveness.  This is where talent mapping comes in – a strategic approach to understanding, developing, and retaining your most valuable asset: your people.

This blog will delve into the world of talent mapping, exploring its core concepts, benefits, and the practical steps involved in creating a talent map.

What is Talent Mapping?

Talent mapping is a strategic approach used in talent management to understand, develop, and retain an organisation’s workforce. It’s like a visual snapshot of your employees’ skills, experience, and potential. By creating a talent map, you can identify strengths, weaknesses, and any gaps within your talent pool. This valuable  information  allows you to make informed decisions about:

  • Recruiting 

Target the specific skills and experience you need to fill current and future roles.

  • Development 

Identify high-potential employees and create targeted training programs to bridge skill gaps.

  • Succession Planning 

Pinpoint who within your organisation has the potential to take on leadership roles in the future.

Overall, talent mapping empowers data-driven decision-making to ensure you have the right talent in place to achieve your strategic goals.

Benefits of Talent Mapping

Talent mapping offers a strategic advantage by providing a clear picture of your human capital. Here’s how talent mapping can benefit your organisation.

Reduced Skills Gaps:

The Indian IT industry alone faces a talent shortage of around 1 million skilled professionals. Talent mapping helps identify these gaps proactively, allowing you to address them through targeted training programs or strategic recruitment efforts before they hinder your growth.

Improved Succession Planning:

A report by TeamLease Services states that only 29% of Indian companies have a formal succession planning process.  Talent mapping helps bridge this gap by identifying high-potential employees with the skills and experience to take on leadership roles in the future. This not only ensures business continuity but also boosts employee morale by demonstrating a clear path for career advancement.

Enhanced Employee Engagement:

A study by Aon Hewitt revealed that 73% of Indian employees feel less engaged when there are limited growth opportunities within their organisation.  By using talent mapping to create defined career paths, you can significantly improve employee engagement and motivation.  Mapping demonstrates a commitment to employee development, making your organisation a more attractive employer.

Data-Driven Decision Making:

In the era of big data, talent maps provide valuable data to support strategic HR decisions and resource allocation.  With a clear understanding of your workforce’s capabilities, you can allocate resources for training and development more effectively, maximising your return on investment in your human capital.

Increased Retention:

A report by PeopleStrong highlights that India’s employee turnover rate is around 20.3%, costing companies significantly. By demonstrating a commitment to employee development through talent mapping, you can create a more positive work environment and reduce turnover. This not only saves on recruitment costs but also preserves valuable knowledge and experience within your organisation.

The process of talent mapping

Talent mapping is like creating a roadmap that guides talent acquisition, development, and succession planning efforts. Here’s a breakdown of the key steps involved in creating a successful talent map:

Define Your Goals and Objectives

Before diving in, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve with talent mapping. Are you looking to:

Identify future leaders?

Address specific skill gaps hindering your growth?

Improve your overall talent pipeline to ensure you have the right people for future needs?

Reduce turnover by demonstrating career paths for employees?

Having well-defined goals from the outset will guide your data collection and analysis efforts, ensuring the talent map addresses your specific needs.

Gather and Analyze Data

Data is the foundation of a valuable talent map. You can gather information from a variety of sources, including:

Employee performance reviews – These provide insights into current skills and capabilities.

Skills assessments – Standardised tests or evaluations can pinpoint specific skill levels.

Employee surveys – Gauge employee engagement, career aspirations, and skill sets.

Learning and development records – Track completed training programs and acquired skills.

Job descriptions – Define the required skills and experience for existing and future roles.

Succession planning documents – Identify potential successors for key positions.

Once you have the data, analyse it to identify key trends and patterns. Look for areas of strength and weakness within your workforce. Consider using talent management software or spreadsheets to organise and visualise your data effectively.

Identify Core Competencies and Skills

Develop a list of core competencies and skills relevant to your organisation’s current and future needs. Consider not only technical skills specific to your industry but also behavioural  skills like- 

Communication,Collaboration, Problem-solving, Critical thinking, Adaptability, Managerial courage, organisational agility etc.

These skills are increasingly crucial for success in today’s dynamic work environment.

Choose Your Talent Mapping Framework

There are several talent mapping frameworks available, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Here are a few popular options:

Skills Matrix: This framework is a simple grid that maps employees’ skills against the desired skills for specific roles. It’s a good choice for identifying skill gaps and potential candidates for open positions.

Nine-Box Grid: This grid categorises employees based on their current performance and potential for future growth. It’s helpful for succession planning and identifying high-potential employees.

Career Pathing Model: This model maps career paths within the organisation, outlining the skills and experience needed for advancement. It helps employees visualise their career development opportunities and motivates them to acquire necessary skills.

Choose the framework that best aligns with your goals and the type of data you’ve collected.

Develop Your Talent Map

Using your chosen framework, visualise your talent data. This could be a simple spreadsheet or a more complex graphic representation, such as a skills matrix or a nine-box grid.

Ensure your talent map is clear, concise, and easy to understand for stakeholders at all levels. Consider using colour coding or symbols to highlight key areas like high-potential employees or critical skill gaps.

Develop Action Plans

Based on the insights gleaned from your talent map, develop action plans to address identified gaps and leverage existing strengths. Here are some potential actions based on your findings:

Skills Gaps: Design and implement targeted training programs to bridge skill gaps within your workforce.

Succession Planning: Develop high-potential employees with leadership training and mentoring opportunities.

Recruitment: Refine your recruitment strategy to target specific skills and experience needed for future roles.

Employee Engagement: Create clear career paths and development opportunities to keep employees motivated and engaged.

Communicate and Update

Don’t let your talent map gather dust on a shelf. Communicate your findings to relevant stakeholders, including senior management, HR personnel, and employees themselves. This transparency fosters a sense of ownership and encourages employee engagement.

Regularly update your talent map to reflect changes within your workforce and business strategy. This ensures your talent management decisions are based on the most up-to-date information.


By following these steps, you can create a valuable talent map that empowers your organisation to build a skilled and future-proof workforce. Remember, talent mapping is an ongoing process, so be prepared to adapt and refine your approach as your organisation evolves.

Talent mapping is a powerful tool that can empower your organisation to build a future-proof workforce. By understanding your talent, you can unlock its full potential and achieve your strategic goals. So, take the first step today and start mapping your talent for success!

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Team PeopleNorth

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